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Kenrick Ellis begins jail sentence Friday

New York Jets defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis walks

New York Jets defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis walks on the field during training camp at Atlantic Health Training Center in Florham Park, N.J. (Credit: AP, 2011)

While most Jet players are looking forward to their getaway vacations and visits with family and friends, Kenrick Ellis is preparing for jail.

The Jets nose tackle will report to Virginia Friday to begin a 45-day sentence for a 2010 altercation.

Ellis has shied away from talking about his prison term and the fact that he'll miss three days of training camp – which starts on July 26.

Rex Ryan said he’s spoken to the lineman about his upcoming imprisonment, but didn’t want to give specifics about their conversation. The Jets head coach said Elis is in “great shape right now” and hopes the second-year defensive tackle will be able to maintain that while he’s locked up.

“There’s people that have gone through similar things and I basically just said lean on each other,” Ryan said, referring to the advice he gave Ellis.

The lineman originally was charged with a felony malicious wounding charge and faced up to 20 years in prison if convicted. But in May, he pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of assault and battery.

Ryan is confident Ellis will be able to push through the mental effects of a prison sentence. “He’s a strong man,” the coach said. “I know one thing, he’s looking forward to this season. He put so much into the offseason.

When Ellis first joined the Jets, he couldn’t even do a pull-up, according to the coach. “Now he’s doing sets of pull-ups with an extra 35 pounds tied on him,” Ryan said of the 6-4, 346-pound Ellis. “He does sets of 10. And this is a big man. …This guy’s really changed his body. He’s been outstanding on the field. We’re going to have to play. As deep as our defensive line is, he’s going to have to play.”

After a lockout-shortened offseason last year, Ellis said last week that he just was happy to finally participate in OTAs. Ryan agreed the interrupted offseason made things more difficult for the 2011 draft class, but the coach has seen significant improvements in his game.

“Him and Vladimir Ducasse probably are the guys that have improved the most. Just incredible,” said Ryan. “(Ellis)

“He took it upon himself, and it started with his conditioning, his offseason workouts,” Ryan said, adding that Ellis and OL Vladimir Ducasse are probably the most improved on the team. “…You really want to cheer for this guy.”

When the Jets drafted him 94th overall in the third round, Ryan said he believed Ellis had “first-round ability.”

“And now you’re starting to see what I believed was there,” he said.

Tags: jets , kenrick ellis , rex ryan , vladimir ducasse

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